Fox’s new series Gotham tells the origin story of Batman, with a young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, Southland) taking on the job as a Gotham detective, determined to clean up the city where his father once served as a successful district attorney. When 12-year-old Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazourz, Touch) millionaire parents are murdered on the street, Gordon promises the child he will catch the killer.
Gotham is a city filled with villains, some new to the franchise, like gang boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), and others recognizable, before they became iconic characters – Selena Kyle, Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), and Edward Nygma, the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith).
The ‘villains’ of Gotham spoke at the TV Critics tour about their eagerly awaited series, which premieres on September 22nd, 2014.
You’re the principal villain. Fish Mooney terrorizes the Penguin, and orders executions. It’s unlike anything you’ve done before, I think. How did you ramp up to do this role, and did you think you were capable of doing it?
Jada: Well, I have to tell you, a lot of conversations with (Executive Producers) Bruno (Heller) and Danny (Cannon) and a lot of guidance from their vision and doing a bit of research of kind of a “collabo” of Griselda Blanco and Norma Desmond for this particular character.
But that was one of the reasons why I wanted to do it, was because I thought it was going to be such an incredible challenge, because it’s unlike anything I’ve done before.
Camren, Cory and Robin, you’re playing characters that are in the comics books and have been played in TV and film. Did you go back and do research, looking at all this past work, or did just want to bring your own vision to this?
Camren: I’ve gone back into the comic books and online, watched the movies. Selina Kyle is not Catwoman yet. She doesn’t even know she’s going to become Catwoman.
She just knows she loves cats and she steals things. But in order for me to show the pathway towards Catwoman, I have to know who Catwoman is, and I can’t do that if I don’t research it.
Cory: Though I am a huge Jim Carrey fan, I’ve never seen Batman Forever and I have no plan on watching it.
I’ve seen some of Frank Gorshin’s work, but I’ve certainly not watched the entire series or a significant portion of it.
I personally am just reading the comic books and using that. And also, I have my opinions.
I’m coming at it from what his psychology is, which I think is very different than what someone would know in the ‘60s.
So I’m coming at it very differently, I think, in terms of how he is interacting with people, having a different kind of bible. It’s driven by medical research.
Robin: I watched Batman Returns, I think, 500 times when I was a kid because it was on HBO literally every day.
So I’ve definitely seen Danny DeVito’s portrayal many, many times. And then I also like watching the reruns of the old television show with Burgess Meredith – two amazing iconic actors with two very different portrayals and approaches. I’m sure, subconsciously, I am influenced by that.
As a kid, I didn’t read many of the comic books, but now, going back and researching the Penguin and where he comes from and what his deal was has been incredibly invaluable and fun.